If you’re even remotely connected with search engine optimization, you will know that in that last few years Google is aggressively fighting spam back links. First it was the Panda but there were quite a few updates after that and you can be assured many more will come in the future.
In any war there is collateral damage, similarly while most of the spam websites were reduced some legitimate sites were also hit. They do have the option of considering things and submit a request for inclusion, but sometimes the damage is already done by then.
To be fair to Google, they are providing webmasters with notifications about spam back links to get rid of them and tools to disallow them when you can’t do anything about it. But if you build links in a natural way then you limit your chances of getting such notices in the first place.
With Panda Google fought spam content and discouraged many webmasters from creating shallow content. Now Google is starting to focus on spam or questionable links. And if a large portion of your link profile consists of questionable back links then your website or blog will have a higher chance of getting penalized. The key is to have a natural looking link profile and that is why it is important that your back links also have other back links pointing to them. Check out the below diagram for a more visual example.
The above image shows a natural link profile. You main website will have links pointing toward it from different sources. Also the web pages that link to your main website will also have few other back links pointing towards them.
This is why some guest bloggers build links to their published guest posts and this is something you should do if you’re doing guest posting. However some guest bloggers do this by buying 200 forum back links in Fiverr or in some similar service. This will not only hurt their article but also the blog the post is published. So never ever do that.
As I said Google is trying to get rid of the spam links as they did with spam content. An unnatural link profile is the easiest way to track down spam back links. Below image shows how a unnatural link profile will look like.
The back links pointing to the main website don’t have any other links pointing towards them. This could be a sign that this is a page built specifically to acquire a back link. If that page is not getting any visitors at all or if other factors like bounce rate and average time on site is negative then such pages can be easily marked as spam.
Not every page will get back links and Google is smart enough to know that. But if high percentage of pages linking to your main website doesn’t have any other links pointing toward it, then clearly there is a problem there. In such instances your main website can be penalize or marked as a low quality website.
Unnatural link profiles are simply one way to detect pages with spam links. No social media interaction, low engagement with content ( which Google can measure easily ) are some other ways that Google will definitely use to identify spam back links. So if you don’t have a natural looking link profile now is a good time to start working on it.